Rulers of the Shogunate

The Shogunate is dominated by six powerful Kueh daimyo families, all of whom consented in the elevation of the current Shogun. Not all of the families were exalted in the days before the great disaster that overtook North Neck, but all of them had numerous members transformed into Accursed. This newfound strength ensured that their consent was sought during the process of secession, and now they have taken the place of older and more pure-blooded lineages who lacked the 'blessing' of the Curse. Among the six of them, it has been agreed that Takahashi Kaito should serve as the first Kueh Shogun, with the lords of the six houses to form an advisory council. While the Shogun has only the strength of his own family to directly command, the fragility of the Shogunate's unity is making all parties quite careful about where they put their feet. None are eager to present a divided face to Xian- or to their rivals.

The Matsudaira are one of the stronger houses of the Shogunate, led by their Accursed matron Matsudaira Mayumi. While her son Kiyoshi has formally ascended to the lordship of the family upon the death of her husband Tetsuya, all know perfectly well that it is Mayumi who rules the house, and it is Mayumi who is the most dangerous of the clan by far. While never an obtrusive person during the life of her husband, the Curse fell heavily upon her and gifted her with more than an ordinary measure of strength- and of infernal instinct. Her husband was slain by rampaging Accursed of the rival Tanaka family, but the demonic powers summoned by Mayumi drove them from the field with heavy losses. She has since retired to an ostensibly private life. Many were surprised by her support of the Shogunate, as the Matsudairas had formerly been notorious for their loyalty to the Mandarin, but the death of her husband and certain other family tragedies which she credits to the Xianese have hardened her heart against the southerners. She and her brood are now among the strongest backers of the secession. The Matsudaira can call upon the direct allegiance of 73 Accursed kinfolk.

The Tanaka were traditional rivals of the Matsudaira, but the grave loss of Accursed members during the chaos has cost them significant strength. Without the devil-blessed scions of the house to support them, they are thrown back upon their more traditional resources of trained swordsmen and occult studies. They were recently ruled by the daimyo Keisuke, a man of remarkable cunning and sorcerous prowess, whose cleverness had allowed him to retain hold of the house even against the machinations of his 'blessed' kinsmen. That ended recently when he was deposed by Tanaka Chokichi, an Accursed of strength and ruthlessness. It seems that the children of Keisuke, his daughter Kiko and son Hisao, had been captured by the Matsudaira family, and the patriarch attempted a sorcerous effort in retaliation that did not function as it ought. Keisuke lives, yet the recovery of his progeny is no longer of great importance to the present Lord Tanaka. The Tanaka were secessionists long before the disaster, and their hatred for the Matsudaira was cemented by that clan's former loyalty to the Mandarin. The change of heart on the part of the Matsudaira does not appear to have improved their opinion of them. The Tanaka have the loyalty of 39 Accursed.

The Kuroki are not, in fact, Kueh at all. By the random vicissitudes of the Curse, it happened that over a hundred of the Accursed formed on the day of the disaster shared loose business affiliations and family ties. Most of them were simply Imperial citizens who happened to be living in North Neck, with no more than a smattering of Kueh marriages among them. The great houses could not dare ignore a force of Accursed so numerous, and so by a polite fiction, the "Kuroki" clan was born, thanks to some conveniently and quickly forged family trees. The current daimyo is Lord Yutaka, formerly the Accursed grain wholesaler Heinrich Weiss. Weiss is by no means enthusiastic about secession, but he's thrown his lot in with the others rather than face the inevitable retribution that would come by defiance. 115 Accursed have at least some nominal loyalty to the "clan".

The Yamazaki are the most militant of the great houses, convinced that now is the time to marshal and army of Accursed and march south to crush the treacherous Mandarin, that the ancient Kueh empire can be reborn in the ashes of the vile Imperial usurpers. This burning enthusiasm on the part of their Accursed Lord Takeru strikes only minimal sparks from the others, who wish to consolidate their power and eliminate their rivals before concerning themselves with old scores. Thus frustrated, the Accursed of the Yamazaki are inclined towards fighting and troublemaking that makes them the least popular of the devil-men among the commoners. They can claim the loyalties of 68 Accursed.

The Nakamura are another "Kueh" great house that has only a notional relationship with the Kueh ethnicity. Led by Lord Shigeru, half the thieves, blackguards, and knaves in North Neck answer to his bidding. The Nakamura family itself is a small one, but its various "retainers" have a degree of authority and say in its affairs more fitting to a gangster family than a filial one. Many of the clanless Accursed of North Neck have found profit in nominal adoption into the Nakamura's organization. The sudden lapse of law in the Shogunate and the recent chaos has provided many opportunities for the 88 Accursed pledged to them.

The Takahashi are unabashed Kueh nationalists who pride themselves upon the purity of their bloodlines and the excellence of their virtue. Of course, their virtue is measured by their own conception of "right Kueh behavior", and that conception tends to have a remarkable similarity to what is advantageous to the Takahashi at any given time. Their former Accursed Lord Shin is a proud and haughty man who is no friend to the less entirely Kueh great families, but his fierce sense of independence from Xian's machinations has proven necessary to the rebellion's success. Some rumor that the venerable Takahashi probity has been more than a little eroded by the great number of Accursed among them and their cadet families. Recently, however, the bold intrigue of the sorcerer Takahashi Roku Gaiyaku has brought them a huge harvest of Accursed. The diabolical sorcerer used an undead legion to batter his way to one of the blue crystals, where a jade sphere stolen from Xian was used to detonate the crystal- and transform the loyal army of humans with him. Even with only one in ten of the soldiers changing, he left the battle with almost eightscore new Accursed in Takahashi's service, bringing their numbers to a heady 230 Accursed. The former Lord Shin felt obligated to step down in Roku's favor after such a dramatic accomplishment. Lord Roku's temper is not widely known at present, but his necromantic skills are thought to be the greatest on the isle- and his scruples perhaps the smallest.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License